FIFA plans to create its own soccer video game after ending its three-decade partnership with EA Sports.
The governing body assured fans that the “only authentic game” to bear its name is being developed with other studios.
FIFA boss Gianni Infantino has hit back at EA Sports
FIFA boss Gianni Infantino has hit back at EA SportsPhoto credit: AFP
EA Sports confirmed on Tuesday that the popular FIFA series will be rebranded as EA Sports FC next year.
The publisher has separated from FIFA after licensing disputes with world football’s governing body.
The next installment in the franchise, FIFA 23, will be the last game in the series as we know it.
Since its launch in 1993, a generation of millions of football fans and players around the world have grown up with FIFA.
It’s now one of the world’s most popular video game franchises and a huge revenue generator.
But “months of tense negotiations” between California-based Electronic Arts (EA) and governing body FIFA did not result in an agreement to extend the partnership, the New York Times reported.
FIFA reportedly wanted the $150 million it receives annually from EA to be increased to $250 million or more.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson found the cash demands untenable, once saying FIFA offers little more than “four letters on the front of the box”.
The game has more than 150 million player accounts, according to EA, and The New York Times said it has generated more than $20 billion in revenue over the past two decades.
No major changes to gameplay are expected and EA said it maintains ties with other leagues and associations such as UEFA, Premier League and Spanish La Liga.
That means the new franchise will still feature most of the world’s best teams, leagues, stadiums and players.
However, FIFA events such as the World Cup are not listed.
“Our vision for EA Sports FC is to create the largest and most influential football club in the world at the epicenter of football fandom,” Wilson said on Tuesday.
“For almost 30 years we have been building the world’s largest football community with hundreds of millions of players, thousands of sports partners and hundreds of leagues, associations and teams.
“EA Sports FC will be the club for each of them and for football fans everywhere.”
The move away from Fifa will allow EA to introduce live event streaming and other in-world events made popular by sandbox-style games like Fortnite.
“In the future, our players will be asking us to expand this offering even more,” David Jackson, chief executive of EA Sports, told BBC News.
“Right now we’re looking at gaming as the primary form of interactive experience.
“Soon, watching and creating content will be equally important for fans,”
FIFA was quick to respond by saying it will “release new football video games developed with third party studios and publishers”.
“I can assure you that the only authentic, real game with the FIFA name will be the best available for players and football fans,” said its President Gianni Infantino.
FIFA is one of the world’s most popular video game franchises
FIFA is one of the world’s most popular video game franchisesPhoto credit: Getty